Balloonfest soars, how high remains to be tallied, officials say
One of Lake Havasu City’s most popular annual events closed Sunday, and organizers say the Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair soared above expectations.
“It was great, fantastic, over the top,” said the festival’s Executive Director, Marquita McKnight. “The weather cooperated, except for a little rain on Saturday. The pilots put on a heck of a show.”
The Havasu Balloon Festival featured more than 70 hot air balloons, which flew over the city during eight of the festival’s intended 10 launches, according to McKnight. Although the event has traditionally taken place on the Island, this weekend’s event was the second of which to take place at its new venue at Lake Havasu State Park. While McKnight couldn’t give an estimate as to the number of Balloon Festival attendees this year, she marked the event as a success.
“It seems like the venue has been working well for us,” McKnight said. “Every year we get a little better about stuff … opening Thursday allowed us to work the kinks out before the weekend started. Everything seemed to flow really well together.”
According to McKnight, the event’s food court saw a surge of activity as live bands played throughout the festival. The balloon festival’s inflatable “Fun Zone” theme park made its debut at this year’s event, seeing wide popularity among young event-goers. The event’s growing popularity required extra vigilance by more than 1,800 volunteers who assisted in the festival, McKnight said, but everyone was glad to lend a hand.
“Our volunteers really came through,” McKnight said. “Our RV camping was full, the 5K run at the start of the festival was popular and a lot of people entered the charity golf tournament the week before.”
According to McKnight, the festival costs more than $750,000 to host at Lake Havasu State Park, but the event routinely earns more than that each year – all of which has been given to Havasu charities through the city’s participating Lions and Rotary clubs.
McKnight expects to know how much this year’s festival earned by the end of March. That total will be distributed later this year to the London Bridge Rotary Club, the Lake Havasu Rotary Club, the Sunrise Rotary Club, the Daybreakers Lions Club and the London Bridge Lions Club; to charities of their choosing.